Approximately 33% of the homeless population is families with children (LAHSC: Los Angeles Homeless Services Coalition, 2008). Veterans comprise approximately 40% of the homeless population (LAHSC: Los Angeles Homeless Services Coalition, 2008). Approximately one in every five homeless person has a severe or persistent mental illness (LAHSC: Los Angeles Homeless Services Coalition, 2008). Approximately 25% of the homeless nationwide are employed. Approximately 42% of homeless people are African-American, 39% white, 13% Hispanic, 4% Native-American, and 2% Asian (LAHSC: Los Angeles Homeless Services Coalition, 2008).
Ethnicity varies depending on geographic location. Personal Awareness of Homelessness Many stereotypes, biases, and attitudes towards the homeless exist. I have stereotyped the homeless as those who do not wish to work, substance abusers, and those who make a choice to be homeless. I believe that some of them made a choice in their life to remain homeless. I do understand that becoming homeless, most likely, was not their idea. Low-income housing is available in most areas and I have a hard time understanding why people cannot work a part-time job to help support themselves.
I have witnessed the homeless begging for money on the streets and panhandling. They sometimes use this money to buy cigarettes or alcohol. I believe that panhandling punishments should be enforced, and that this is unsafe for the homeless. One of my biased opinions is that many homeless people are substance abusers and not able to obtain low-income housing help because they refuse to get help with their addictions. Many addiction treatment programs are available to people with or without insurance coverage. I have no violent thoughts against the homeless, but they are at high risk for violent crimes because they are homeless.